China's New Disneyland Will Force 5,000 Families of Farmers Out of Their Homes

Disneyland sure is a wondrous place--beloved characters, thrilling rides, an entire fantastic world where a child's imagination can run wild. It's fun for the whole family. Unless, that is, you happen to be one of the 5,000 families of poor farmers that are getting kicked out of their homes by the Chinese government so Disney can build its latest Magical Kingdom.Disney Land to Make Farmers Homeless, Jobless
It seems that the interests of struggling Chinese farmers has once again taken a backseat to government interests--but this time there's the added twist that one of America's most beloved brands is responsible for the eviction notices.

According to Bloomberg, the government told farming families living in Qigan Village in the Pudong district outside of Shanghai--an estimated 5,000 families--will have to 'relocate' to make way for the 11 square kilometer theme park. They were not told how much compensation they would receive for their land or troubles.


This farmer has been told he needs to vacate his land. Photo via the Guardian
Plight of the Chinese Farmers
The farmers are justifiably frightened--a 72 year old retired farmer, Jin Xinmiel, is among those forced of her land. "My husband and I are very worried," Jin said, according to Bloomberg: "We don't want to move because our meager income is not enough for us to live in the city, where everything costs more." They get a meager pension of $103 dollars a month, and make ends meet by selling cabbage and potatoes. And there are thousands of others like her, worried that they'll be unable to survive when relocated into the more-expensive city.

Not to worry! Disney, whose commitment to family entertainment has a legacy of decades, will certainly find a solution: "'We understand that the local government is offering resettlement packages to local residents,' Disney spokeswoman Alannah Hall-Smith said in an e-mail." And what could be more magical than 'resettlement packages'!?

And lest you forget what happens if you refuse to take one such 'resettlement packages':

You're apt to end up like this homeowner who defied the Chinese government by refusing to resettle--who found that the neighborhood had, well, let's just say, changed overnight.

And if you need any more proof of how oppressive this is to the Chinese people, just look to this heartbreaking quote:

"The government's agenda is always on top of farmers', and I know we should support it instead of grudging," Ge said, standing amid shelves of soap, bottled water and cooking oil. "Happy or not happy isn't important anymore. The decision is made and we have to move."
'Happy or not happy isn't important anymore'--Perhaps that can be Disney's new motto.

More on Disney and China
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Tags: China | Conservation | Consumerism | Economics | Farming

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